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THE DAILY DOSE: TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009

For Immediate Release: 
June 30, 2009
Contact Info: 
Katie Grant
Stephanie Lundberg
(202) 225 - 3130
Health Reform in the House

Fact of the Day

The average annual income for family physicians is $173,000, while oncologists earn $335,000, radiologists $391,000 and cardiologists $419,000.
(Merritt Hawkins medical recruiting firm)

Health Resources

Under the Microscope

REPORT: Supporting Small Practices: Lessons For Health Reform
Small medical practices provide the majority of all ambulatory care visits in the United States, yet many lack the resources to improve the quality of care delivered to a diverse population, according to a report released June 24, 2009 by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The report highlights the important role of small medical practices in health care delivery and the challenges they face in adapting to key health reform proposals. [NCQA, 6/24/2009]

Smaller Medical Practices Get Help with Electronic Records
The Obama administration's implementation of stimulus package incentives intended to spur nationwide adoption of electronic medical records will give special attention to solo practitioners and small group practices, HHS Health IT Coordinator David Blumenthal told lawmakers.
[CongressDaily, 6/25/2009]

NEWS COVERAGE: The Shortage of Primary Care Physicians

OPINION: A Lifeline for Primary Care
[New England Journal of Medicine, 6/25/2009]
By Thomas Bodenheimer, MD, Kevin Grumbach, MD, and Robert Berenson, MD

Easing the Shortage in Adult Primary Care – Is it all About Money? [New England Journal of Medicine, 6/25/2009]

Low Pay From Medicaid Keeps Illinois Doctors Away From Primary Care [Chicago Tribune, 6/29/2009]

Primary-Care Doctor Shortage May Undermine Reform Efforts [Washington Post, 6/20/2009]

States Faces Shortages of Primary Care Doctors
[Lehrer Newshour, 1/6/2009]


Health Care Headlines

  • Obama Steers Health Debate Out of Capital
    With Democrats deeply divided over health legislation, President Obama is trying to enlist the nation’s governors and his own army of grass-roots supporters in a bid to increase pressure on lawmakers without getting himself mired in the messy battle playing out on Capitol Hill. [New York Times, 6/29/2009]
  • Obama’s Challenge: Selling Health Reform to the Middle Class
    From the beginning, President Barack Obama and his top advisers have sought to portray health care reform not just as another costly entitlement for the poor, but as part of a larger effort to ease the burden of mounting medical costs for the middle class. [Kaiser Health News, 6/28/2009]
  • ‘Frequent Fliers’ Add Billions to Hospital Bills
    Doctors call them frequent fliers. They are the patients who leave the hospital, only to boomerang back days or weeks later. They have become a front-burner challenge not only for hospitals and doctors but also for those trying to rein in rising costs. [Washington Post, 6/30/2009]
  • Preventive Care Not a Cost Savings: CBO
    When Sen. Tom Harkin helped write a chapter on preventive care for a health overhaul bill this spring, he was not only hoping to improve Americans’ health, but also win some savings for the government to help pay for an expansion of insurance to people who lack it. [CQ Today, 6/29/2009]
  • Daschle: Public Option ‘Very Much Alive’
    After taking heat recently for suggesting Democrats should abandon the idea of a public insurance option to get bipartisan support for a healthcare overhaul, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said today he expects the overhaul bill that hits President Obama's desk will contain a public alternative. [CongressDaily, 6/29/2009]
  • AP Interview: Snowe Seeks Bipartisan Health Bill
    Sen. Olympia Snowe, a key figure in shaping federal health care legislation, said Monday that a government-run plan that would take effect if the private insurance market fails to deliver affordable coverage could bridge the partisan divide that threatens to derail President Barack Obama's efforts to reform the system. [Associated Press, 6/29/2009]
  • Hard Choices on Four Big Issues Stymie Health Push
    Four divisive issues could dash President Barack Obama's hopes of overhauling health care: cost, creating a government-run plan, taxing workers' benefits and penalizing employers that don't offer coverage. [Associated Press, 6/30/2009]
  • Gaming the Game-Changers
    Over the next few days, I'll be exchanging questions and answers with Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget on the issue of health care. [Slate, 6/29/2009]
  • Daschle and Podesta: Taxing Employer Plans Should be Considered
    Two influential Democrats with close ties to President Obama endorsed on Monday taxing some employer-provided health benefits as part of a $1.2 trillion 10-year framework for financing a health system overhaul, another sign that Mr. Obama may end up accepting a tax that he rejected during his campaign. [New York Times, 6/29/2009] Read a related article in USA Today.
  • EDITORIAL: Focus on Results, Not Treatments
    Alarmed by increases in healthcare costs, policymakers and insurers have adopted a series of reforms over the years -- such as price controls and HMOs -- whose savings proved to be temporary at best.
    [L.A. Times, 6/29/2009]
  • OPINION: Designing the Health Insurance Exchanges
    By Ezra Klein
    I've said before that the Health Insurance Exchange is arguably the most important element of health-care reform. [Washington Post, 6/29/2009]
  • OPINION: Selling Health Care? Watch What You Say.
    By Drew Western, psychology professor at Emory University and author of “The Political Brain”
    "Universal health care." "The uninsured." "Public option." These are the buzzwords you often hear from Democrats and proponents of President Obama's plan for health-care reform. But if they want to see that plan enacted, they'd do well to excise those phrases from their vocabulary. [Washington Post, 6/28/2009]